Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most well-known tourist destinations because this small, coastal town is a place that’s famed for its natural beauty and free spirit.
This is not a huge town in terms of population, but it is a town that still sees millions of visitors every year that dwarfs the local community in terms of numbers.
They are all here to experience the best the area has to offer, and you can rest assured that there is indeed a lot to do here.
Byron Bay is renowned for its stunning white sand beaches. The crashing waves have long attracted surfers to these colorful shores and helped to create a charming, carefree environment that’s famous in Australia.
From lighthouses and scenic walks to whale watching and snorkeling, here are the best things to do in Byron Bay.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Australia (Travel Guide)
10 Cool Things to Do in Byron Bay, Australia
1. Cape Byron and the Byron Bay Lighthouse
Byron Bay is, in fact, the most easterly town in Australia. The most easterly point of Australia is the Byron Bay Lighthouse which is found at the far end of Cape Byron.
This is one of the most spectacular places to visit in the area and one of the best things to do in Byron Bay is to travel here for sunset or sunrise to watch the incredible colors in the sky above.
You can walk here from the town itself, and a beautiful, short hike along a rugged trail takes you to the lighthouse and to the scenic vistas awaiting you at Cape Byron.
Our top recommended tours:
- Byron Bay Whale Watching Cruise
- Byron Bay Tandem Sky Dive
- Byron Bay Dolphin Sea Kayak Tour
- Byron Bay Day Trip from Gold Coast Including Cape Byron Lighthouse
One of the best activities and things to do in Byron Bay is undoubtedly surfing. This is what the town is most famous for and many of the thousands of visitors that travel here are drawn in by the chance to surf at one of the world’s most iconic surfing destinations.
The year-round sunshine, the clear, warm waters and the local love of the sport make this a great place to surf.
There are many fantastic surfing spots along the coastline here, and there are beaches that offer a huge range of surfing conditions that can be suitable for beginners all the way up to pros.
Our top recommended tours including Surfing:
3. Enjoy the Beach Life
Byron Bay is just as much about the beach life as it is about surfing though. And whether you are a surfer or not then you are guaranteed to fall in love with the coastline.
One of the best things to do in Byron Bay is to simply enjoy the beach life. It’s hot, it’s sunny and it’s laid back. Stroll along the white sands, splash around in the shallows or simply relax on the shoreline.
This is the epitome of east coast Australia’s famous, fun-loving lifestyle. There are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from, but some of the best are Byron Main, Watego’s Beach and Tallow’s Beach.
4. Whale and Dolphin Watching
Whale and dolphin watching could be one of the best things to do in Byron Bay. The town has had a long history alongside the whales and dolphins that call the waters here home.
Unfortunately, it’s not all positive, as Byron Bay began life as a whaling hub, though it wouldn’t be here today without that grizzly history.
These days, the relationship with the whales and dolphins is much nicer as the whaling business was halted a long time ago.
The coastline sees huge annual migrations close to the town and certain times of year you are almost guaranteed to spot some of these majestic creatures in the wild.
The season runs from June through to November, during the colder winter months of the year when the whales migrate to warmer climates.
Our top recommended tours of Whale and Dolphin Watching:
5. Tropical Fruit World
The small town of Duranbah is found an hour’s drive away to the north of Byron Bay and it makes for a more unusual change to surfing or beach lounging.
This is the home of Tropical Fruit World, one of the best things to do in Byron Bay. This is a family-owned and family-run fruit farm that grows an incredible array of unique fruit from across the globe.
This is a wonderful place to experience the local rainforest too and to see first hand the tropical climate and conditions that make the area so conducive to growing fruit.
You can enjoy a guided tour and of course some tastings of the best and most unusual fruit to be found here.
6. Julian Rocks
Julian Rocks is one of the most loved marine areas along the coast here. A visit here is one of the best things to do in Byron Bay and it’s one of the best places to snorkel or dive anywhere in the state of New South Wales.
Found off Cape Byron, this is a beautiful area of protected underwater life. The rocks in question are located a few kilometers out to sea and have long been an important landmark for local aboriginals.
Captain Cook gave the rocks their English name when he sailed by in the 18th century, and in more recent history, the huge diversity of marine life found here attracts tourists from across the world looking for world-class diving and snorkeling.
It’s common to see nurse sharks and rays here, alongside many other wonderful creatures.
Our top recommended tours of Julian Rocks:
- Byron Bay Dolphin Tour and Marine Park Cruise
- 3-Hour Sea Turtle Snorkeling Experience in Byron Bay
- 5-Hour Byron Bay Introductory Scuba Diving Tour
- Byron Bay 3-Hour Certified Dive Tour
7. Arakwal National Park
Next to Cape Byron can be found one of the best national parks in northern New South Wales.
The Arakwal National Park is definitely one of the best things to do in here because this is one of the most scenic parts of the surrounding countryside.
The park is on the land of the indigenous Arakwal people and they help to manage its preservation as the traditional owners.
This is an exceptionally beautiful landscape and many of Byron Bay’s most gorgeous beaches are located here. As well as the beaches though there are some great hiking trails and it’s easy to lose yourself in the isolated nature of the park.
Despite being so close to the town, you will quickly realize that this is a world away from urban life.
8. Minyon Falls
The Minyon Falls is a waterfall of truly impressive size and height that’s found close to Byron Bay. This is crashing cascade of water is part of the Nightcap National Park and is one of the tallest waterfalls in the state.
Minyon Falls reaches a maximum height of 100 meters, making it a staggering natural sight to behold. The jagged rocks were once part of a volcanic crater and the surrounding landscapes are incredibly diverse and beautiful.
This is some of the most pristine rainforests in the world and in the National Park, you can find plenty of great walking trails that will immerse you in the stunning nature.
You can visit the Falls all year round, but after the rains, they are of course at their most impressive.
Our top recommended tours of Minyon Falls:
- Hinterland Tour Including Rainforest Walk to Minyon Falls
- Hinterland Tour Including Minyon Falls and Kayaking with Dolphins
- Minyon Falls and Hinterland Day Trip and Learn to Surf at Byron Bay
- Minyon Falls Rainforest Walk
Travel inland from Byron Bay and just 70 kilometers away is the town of Nimbin. This is a place that has become as much of a tourist destination as Byron Bay and although you can’t surf, Nimbin is renowned for its laid-back, hippie culture.
This is a free-thinking community where almost anything goes and it’s a unique place to visit to see more of the alternative culture and lifestyle of modern Australia.
You can visit during the local Mardi Gras Festival to truly soak in the local life and experience the best of this unusual community, but regardless of when you are in town, you are guaranteed to have an enlightening time in Nimbin.
Our top recommended tours of Nimbin:
Mullumbimby is located just north of Byron Bay and this charming town makes for a great day trip.
Like Nimbin, this is also a community that prides itself on their counterculture, although as a tourist destination it’s not quite so well known as its neighbor.
Mullumbimby is found in a beautifully scenic part of New South Wales, surrounded by rainforest and prominent mountain peaks.
There are many farms in the countryside by the town and if you visit on a Friday then you will have the chance to see the local Farmers Market where you can find great products from fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Community Markets, only held once a month, are also a great local market to visit, and you can find many unique, local businesses showcasing their products and services.
Throughout the year, Mullumbimby hosts many great festivals too, with the best and most well known and attended being the Mullumbimby Music Festival and the Byron Spirit Festival.
Our top recommended tours of Mullumbimby:
- Hippy Trail Hinterland Tour from Byron Bay
- Beyond Byron Hinterland Tour
- Private Byron Bay and Mullumbimby Day Trip
More on Australia:
- 11 BEST Things to Do in Darwin, Australia
- 5 Awesome Things to Do in Perth, Western Australia
- 10 Spectacular Things to Do on Fraser Island
- Should I Rent a Jucy Campervan in Australia?
- Going Underground- Our Visit to the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels in Darwin
- Into the Cage of Death at Crocosaurus Cove
- Cruising for Crocodiles in Cairns